Thursday, August 04, 2005

Roadie Report 4 (July cont. w/ Donovan and THE FOLK DEN PROJECT Cover Photo Session) by Camilla McGuinn

The July Tour 2005 (cont.)

On July 3, we had 206 miles to drive before the evening concert in Torrington, Connecticut. Since we wanted to get there in time for a 2pm lunch, we left at 10am. I was pretty sure the traffic wouldn’t be too bad going south on the Maine turnpike and it wasn’t, but the folks driving north were backed up for miles at the New Hampshire toll booth. Too bad New Hampshire hasn’t joined the EZ Pass system. Even though we live in Florida, we subscribed to EZ Pass years ago. The dollar a month service fee is well worth the expense considering the amount of time we save driving quickly through the northeastern tollbooths.

We arrived at the Litchfield Inn just in time for lunch. There was a wedding being celebrated and we enjoyed the sounds and sights of the wedding party while we munched on a delicious meal.

The Litchfield Inn
Photo by Camilla McGuinn

The Litchfield Inn is an older hotel with a lot of history. Our room was called the Sherlock Holmes Room and it was a step back in time but with modern features including wireless internet access. How appropriate that we would have a room named after Mr. Holmes considering my childhood love of mysteries.

At 4pm, Woody the promoter picked us up for sound check. Donovan was just finishing his check when we arrived at the beautiful old Warner Theater. There is a treasure-trove of old theaters across America where history resonates to your senses. You can almost hear the laughter and smell the cigar of George Burns from the heyday of vaudeville as you walk across the historical stages.

I walked across the stage and gave Donovan a joyful hug. We tried to catch up on the last 10 years in 10 minutes. He looked great, sounded great and was as ingratiating as ever. My job of roadie demanded attention, so I had to excuse myself and get Roger’s equipment and staging arranged. Don and Roger had a reunion downstairs in the dressing room.

We finished sound check and the lighting cues with just enough time for me to set up my “lemonade stand” and to chat with the fans. There were a lot of people who had seen Roger in 1991 at TOAD’S PLACE in New Haven and a few from the April 22nd concert in Buffalo. It felt like a reunion.

At showtime, the lights in the theater went dark, Roger started playing his Rickenbacker while walking on stage, and the audience stood up with a roar. My heart always leaps when I hear an audience get as excited as I do at the sound of the opening notes of Roger’s guitar.

Roger had scheduled a photo shoot in Nashville for July 6. We wanted to avoid as much of the July 4th traffic as possible, so we got an early start Monday morning. We put the destination in “Nancy” and programmed the GPS to avoid freeways. The GPS directed us to some very small winding roads and it took an hour to get 30 miles. So much for a fast get away, but every turn was worthwhile just to behold the manicured beauty of the rural Connecticut countryside.

After the sightseeing hour, we hit the highways for Tennessee and surprisingly there was little traffic. July 5th, we arrived in Nashville in time for dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant, GOTEN.

In 2002, PEOPLE magazine had sent photographer John Chiasson to Orlando to photograph Roger in his natural habitat. John creatively placed Roger by our local pond and it became the picture the magazine editors featured in its article called “Rock of Aging.” Our fondness of John and his creative ways inspired us to have him photograph the FOLK DEN PROJECT album cover.

John was at the hotel at 9 o’clock, Wednesday morning. We checked out of the hotel and headed to a location he had scouted earlier. Around lunch time, we went to his home studio and met his wife, Maureen. She is a flight attendant for Continental Airlines and had just flown in from Tel Aviv. She looked great and was very upbeat! When I fly for hours, I look like I have flown for hours and I’m grumpy.

John Chiasson playing guitar with Roger. Photo by Camilla McGuinn

While John’s assistants set the scenes for the photo shoot in the studio, John and Roger played guitar. Roger usually does not enjoy photo sessions but with John he was relaxed and having fun. I didn’t even feel it was necessary for me to hang around to give Roger encouragement, so Maureen and I sat on their upper deck and discussed everything from the men we love, to our faith in GOD.

We had planned to begin driving the last leg of our trip home after the session, but John and Maureen talked us into spending the night in their home. Maureen efficiently prepared an incredible meal while guitars were being strummed in the other room. I just watched her in awe. Usually I love being a chef’s assistant, but her flight training carried over to her chef’s skills and I would have just been in the way.

We peacefully went to sleep that night in the cozy Chiasson guestroom. The photo session and the new found friendships made the Nashville stop a wonderful detour on our way home.